Kate Briggs’ meditation on the art of translation meanders around her experience of translating some lectures given by Roland Barthes in (I think) the 1970s, her deep interest in the translations by Helen Lowe-Porter of Thomas Mann, and the relationship between Andre Gide and his besotted translator Dorothy Bussy. I’m not interested in Barthes, but … Continue reading This Little Art
We’re well past the Labour victory in the post-war general election now, heading towards a Conservative revival in 1951. Notable Conservative novelist Angela Thirkell wrote about this period of British history with loathing and resentment. John Lehmann writes about it in his Foreword to this issue in terms of a strong desire to earn a … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 34: Life in 1948
My feelings about the prevailing mood of the previous issues of Penguin New Writing have been borne out by the Foreword in this issue of autumn 1947, by John Lehmann himself. ‘Your Editor has had a dream. A mad, fantastic dream, not to be credited at all. [there follows a paragraph of escalating impossibilities] That … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 31, autumn 1947
This issue of Penguin New Writing, from spring 1947, has a depth that the previous issues reviewed don’t seem to have achieved. John Lehmann goes all-out in his Foreword by saying that the fires that decimated London’s publishing offices and warehouses in the bombing in December 1940 did ‘the book-trade — and the authors who … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 30
New Writing, John Lehmann’s influential British literary magazine, first appeared in 1936, and fostered politically Left writers and artists. It stopped publication in 1950, with issue 40, just as Tennessee Williams and John Wain (for example) joined the contributors. I found issues 27 to 40 in an Oxfam shop, and bought them for a fiver. … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 27: Spring 1946
I wrote something heartfelt about the process of marking a poetry exam, over on Vulpes Libris.
This is the prequel, or preceding companion to Maxwell's fantasy creative writing course Drinks With Dead Poets, in which Maxwell writes urgent, obstreperous essays about how to read, write and think about poetry. On Poetry feels like a book written for practitioners at all levels. It’s certainly a hugely useful teaching book, full of admonitions and exasperated noises, … Continue reading On Poetry, by Glyn Maxwell